A Reflection from Central Alum and Pastor of Blue Valley Christian Church, Rev. Lois Kelley
At Blue Valley Christian Church (BVCC) we like to say, "we are so far outside the box that we can't see the box and don't want to see the box."
About six years ago, BVCC decided to sell its building. They were getting smaller in numbers and much of their resources were used towards the building debt. They took some time, after selling their building, to discern what mission God had for them. They decided to be a church for senior adults in a retirement community.
BVCC moved into Silvercrest at Deercreek, in Overland Park, an independent and assisted living retirement community. We desired to be a church family for the residents, instead of just providing a worship service only once a week.
We do have a full worship service every Sunday morning. We are also on-site during the week. We help with activities for the residents, some planned by BVCC, and some planned by Silvercrest with BVCC helping. BVCC offers a men's Bible study and a women's book group. Pastor Lois is available for pastoral care throughout the week. BVCC has a wonderful relationship with Silvercrest. Silvercrest provides a place for BVCC to worship, rent-free, and BVCC volunteers and helps the staff and residents, and provides a free chaplain in Pastor Lois.
The church is more than just Sunday morning worship. The church is relationships, caring and supporting each other, and working together to do God's work/mission in the world.
When folks move into a retirement community, they face many losses. These losses can include the loss of their home, neighborhood, friends (if they move out of state to be closer to children), usually their church, and eventually their driving. At BVCC we don't want to be another loss, we want to be a new church for them, a church family. We are committed to the community and being there for them, through the week, for the future.
The coronovirus quarantine makes our situation more challenging for sure. Here are some of the ways we are still reaching out to our community:
- We are sending cards to all the residents and continue to send birthday cards with a small gift of a $5 gift card for lunch or a candy bar. (In March the member who sent cards included $20 grocery cards thinking those might be needed).
- Our worship service is on Facebook live from my home, and Silvercrest staff help the residents access it.
- We have ordered goodies for each resident and staff member.
- I am available, by phone, for all the residents and staff - in case they need to talk or just want to visit with someone.
- Residents are now encouraged to stay in their apartments and their meals are being delivered to their apartments, so more need for phone call visiting will probably be happening.
- I am also typing up the Bible study each week. Those are mailed to the activity director and she prints them out for the residents. I'm providing questions to think about and they can call each other or me and talking about the questions.
- I've enlisted the help of some of my friends with kids. They are making pictures and writing cards to send to the residents.
- We are planning (as I'm sure many churches are) a big celebration when we are back in the building, it will be a different style of worship (that will include more time for visiting and catching up) and a meal.
I feel like I'm busier now than before all this happened!
If you would like to learn more about this important ministry or want to volunteer to help with activities, helping residents record their life stories, or be a part of worship, contact Pastor Lois Kelley at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us on Facebook or our website, bvcc-silvercrest.org.
To help Central train learners who are Ready to Lead, click on the button below: